The blog of author Dennis Cooper

DC’s theoretically favorite Home Haunts of the Halloween season 2018 *

* Halloween countdown post #13

Twisted Minds Productions presents … Anneliese, Highland Park, CA
I’ve always had a deep love for Halloween, and as weird as it sounds I love to scare the living hell out of people. Through Twisted Minds Productions my fellow teenaged friends and I have been creating haunted houses for Halloween parties since 2014 and stirring up nightmares with our home haunts since 2017. Every year we try our best to scare the living hell out go you by creating original environments to fully immures you in a life like horror experience. In 2018 welcomes you home… but you have visitors. This year we present Anneliese: the experience, an immersive haunted house that will take guests through the true story of Anneliese Michel, a young girl who was possessed at the age of 16. Guest will embark on a research tour of the house and get a first person perspective of the possession and demonic events. Guided by two ghost hunters you will navigate dark hallways and rooms not knowing what demonic entity is around the corner.



Inland Empire Asylum, La Verne, CA
Shattered Realm is a mom and pop home haunt created by a small team of enthusiasts each Halloween season. They strive to bring a sense of sheer terror to each production. Step inside the Inland Empire Asylum; the patients are all very friendly, and would love for you to stay a while…



Pumpkinrot, location TBA



The Witches Haunted Mine, Beaverton, OR
In Beaverton, the Witches Haunted Mine, 16319 NW Somerset, has a crystal ball where some poor souls didn’t make it out. It’s open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and kids under 8 need a parent.



The Farm, Glendale, CA
The Farm is a Western themed haunt located in Glendale, California. This cozy and gruesome maze contains several sharp turns, offering surprises and fun around every corner. Often, mazes will be lengthy but lack enough content to make the experience satisfying. The Farm seems to be aware of this fact and instead does the opposite: it has numerous ideas, props and characters which work together within tight spaces and small sets – all within the space of a driveway. The Farm contains five rooms which fully immerse you into a ghoulish barnyard experience. You will walk by corn stalks, horse skeletons, bales of hay, and severed human remains as you encounter high-tech mechanics in an atmosphere saturated with beautiful lighting effects.



Murder House Productions presents Resurrection, Thousand Oaks, CA
Murder House Productions should be on everyone’s radar because they are easily one of the best home haunts in the country. Taking inspiration from popular movies, MHP produced an Evil Dead-themed maze in 2016 and a 2017 Trick R Treat maze. With theme-park-production quality, their haunts reveal an entire narrative that spans multiple locations within their small facade. Starting in the woods and encountering a ravenous little Red Riding Hood and wolf, we enter a quaint home–and meet Sam. The beauty of this haunt resides in the details: the sound of shattering glass as a hallway turns dark, props from the movie littering the top of the dresser, the talent of the numerous actors, and a soundtrack that enhances the scares. Their haunts are proof of where the future of home haunts is headed.



Joe Allocco’s The Franklin Square Horror, Franklin Square, NY
Franklin Square Horror is One of the Biggest and Scariest Haunted Walk-Throughs on Long Island! Once you enter Norbay Street you will see Hundreds of feet of pure Terror! In 2017 visitors Witnessed the Terrifying “Journey Through HELL! Come and See if you, your family and friends can make it through the different Chambers filled with Terrifying Surprises! 2017’s “Journey through HELL” showcased the Scariest Scences from Previous years including some All New Horrifying Ones! You Witnessed The Haunted Ouija Room, The Decapitated Heads Room, The Morgue, The Caniballistic Ghoul’s Coffin Room, The Crematorium, Doorway to the Unknown and of course… HELL!



Killppetto’s Toy Shop, Burbank, CA
Rotten Apple 907 started out as a child’s birthday party and has since grown into one of the largest home haunts in Los Angeles. This home haunt has professional grade sets and manages to tell an entire story in one walk-through maze. This haunt specializes in darker retellings of classic fairytales. The theme for 2018 is a creepy variation on Pinocchio.



Victoria Manor, Apple Valley, CA
We have had the pleasure of attending Jordan’s High Desert Haunt, aka Victoria Manor, for the past 3 years. This haunt is a hidden gem which can only be accessed by driving up an unlit dirt road in the middle of Apple Valley. Victoria Manor is a ramshackle paradise built with pieces of old houses, vehicles, and stacked up rubble. It’s an astonishing and spectacular haunt that is always a priority for us to visit. The Victoria Manor feels at times scary, funny, or ridiculous. It hosts two mazes which are drastically different – the first maze is mellow, and the second maze is completely insane. The second maze is overwhelmingly beautiful and chaotic – there’s fire, chainsaws, and numerous moments where practically every character of the maze is following you. Characters range from young children to older adults.



Dark Shadows Home Haunt, Orland Hills, IL
Dark Shadows is a home haunt that has been running since 2000! Every year getting bigger and better, we have a full animated cemetery as our yard display with over 20 animated props. In 2005 we expanded and opened a walkthrough that changes every year. Mike Yazumbek is the mastermind behind all of this, who fabricates every prop and sets up the whole display. We try to keep it as a theme, where the front is set up to an an ancient cemetery, that was taken over by zombies and skeletons. Throughout our walkthrough in the garage, you’ll take a stroll through several themed rooms. Live actors most nights along with our hollywood like effects and animatronics make us a must see! DS Has won many awards over the years! In 2011, DS Ranked in the top 20 haunts in world by the Home Haunters Association.



Spooky Hollows, Van Nuys, CA
Spooky Hollows is a haunted underworld inhabited by maniacal crones and tenebrous caves. You will walk through a swamp enshrouded in thick fog as skeletal alligators stare at you from below. Carnivorous plants await you as you make your way through creeping vines. In the end, you can pray at the pumpkin shrine so that your soul is not left behind. This beautiful walkthrough and family friendly haunt leaves behind the gore and typical scares found in most mazes. The actors could double for Macbeth’s witches and help to create a genuine otherworldly atmosphere. They are fully committed to giving you the best experience as a guest. It is unbelievable that this maze lives within a small suburban back yard. Spooky Hollows creates a haunted world which is innovative and filled with imagination.



To whom it may concern: For the last ten years Yvonne Erman, Owner of Y Karaoke Kompany has found a unique way to give back to the community by hosting her Annual Haunted House. The Haunted House consists of a maze of differently themed rooms. The tour starts in the garage and continues into the side and all around the back yard, giving visitors over 2500 sq ft of ghosts and ghouls. There is NEVER a charge to enter. We are excited to add the Fool’s Funeral Home to our themed rooms this year, complete with a real coffin. Also visit Zombiesteria, The Lost Mummy’s Tomb, Circus De Kill, The Morgue, The Meat Locker, Love after Death, the Butcher Shop, Freddie’s Junk Yard and more. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.



Tunnel of Terror presents … Hazels House, Niagara, ONT
The Tunnel of Terror is a handmade haunted tunnel made of wood and tarps, built in the backyard of David and Karyn Torbett. It’s over 1000 sq ft of walk through haunted tunnels, hallways and rooms with live actors inside and a few spooks and surprises around every corner and behind every door. This is the 9th year for The Tunnel of Terror.

This year the theme is a Witches House named “Hazel’s House”. You will tour her hair raising potion and spell chamber, a disturbing and threatening tea room among other sinister and eerie areas of her habitat along with spooks, surprises and scares around every corner and through every creaky door. You will also encounter real life witches and warlocks inside the compound.



The Backwoods Maze, Burbank, CA
This amazingly lengthy tour of terror is as effective as any professional Halloween haunt. The Backwoods Maze is not a traditional haunted house; though there are some convincing interior sets, the experience is more akin to a race through some post-apocalyptic backwoods hellhole, with mutants, cyborgs, and depraved cannibals every corner.



Welcome too the Nuthouse, Boise, IN
Billed as an “extreme beyond extreme” adventure for teens between the ages of 13 and 16, this haunt put on by local teens Bret Maguire, 14, and Marty Blescoe, 15, in the Maguire family home proved so controversial in its first incarnation last year that it was shut down by police for illegal underage drinking, fighting and property damage on its inaugural night. In 2018, Bret, Marty, and a dozen of their friends are back to try again, although the neighborhood outcry before it has even opened will have local police waiting in their squad cars outside the premises.



Mystic Motel, Ladera Ranch, CA
Mystic Motel is a home haunt that’s part walk-through attraction and part dark ride. Yes, you read that right: dark ride. I mean an honest to goodness 35-second long carnival-style, single-track, amusement park ride through some spooky scenes. The brainchild of Scott D’Avanzo, a slot machine game developer by day, Mystic Motel is a haunted ride through the basement of a creaky, old motel where guests seem to have a penchant for disappearing. The entire ride is literally located inside the garage of the family house, with a bit of an extension built onto the driveway. Guests enter the D’Avanzo abode and then take a rickety “elevator” “down” to the basement before proceeding onto the ride. The execution and flow through the space makes for a fun and believable sequence, with a bit of suspension of disbelief, of course (ignore that the basement is actually the garage). Scott first created the attraction at the request of his son, who wanted something fun for Halloween, but it has since become a local sensation, attracting robust crowds on operating nights.




In memory of the greatest Home Haunt of all time …

Big Worm’s Sherwood Scare, Northridge, CA
Created in 2012 to raise money to fight Cystic Fibrosis, Sherwood Scare is no mere decorated yard; it’s a full-blown walk-through terror tour, loaded with monsters and mayhem, that immediately established itself as ranking among the best amateur Halloween attractions in Los Angeles.

Since going dark in 2015, Sherwood Scare remains on indefinite hiatus. A permanent retirement was announced, but the message on the official website leaves little hope for a resurrection:

“Unfortunately, we will once again not be opening for the Halloween season. We so missed scaring you last year and will be sad to miss another year. As our film careers have grown, it has become increasingly difficult to dedicate the necessary time to create a haunt that lives up to our own standards. While we continue to tell stories in other forms, including our Crash the Super Bowl winning commercial “Doritos Dogs,” we are all proudest of the stories we got to tell through Sherwood Scare. We don’t currently have a firm idea of when we will reopen in the future but have hopes of returning in the years to come. We remain ardent supporters of unique forms of live theatre and haunted houses and we hope to see you out there at all the other wonderful Halloween experiences in the area this season.”




p.s. Hey. I’m still in Porto, but I’ll be back on Monday. This weekend I present what my best guess tells me will be the coolest Home Haunts of this Halloween season. If you happen to be in So. Cal. these days, I very highly recommend that you check out Anneliese, The Farm, Spooky Hollows, The Backwoods Maze, and Mystic Motel, all of which I’ve experienced in years past, and they’re incredible. See you next time.


  1. Sypha

    TBH I think the Barnes & Noble I work at has been haunted this Halloween season: for weeks now we’ve had a problem with yellowjackets. And as a person who has a phobia of bees, this has made working there a living hell… luckily, my vacation started today so I’ll have at the very least the next 8 days off. Hopefully they’ll have it fixed by the time I get back.

    Today I found out that our very own James Nulick has a short story collection coming out next year from Expat Press, sometime in the summer, possibly June, but I don’t think it’s set in stone yet. It will be entitled BUDDY PEGS. You all can read about it in some tweets here:

    There’s a story in it that’ll be dedicated to you, Dennis. Quite an honor! But needless to say I’m very excited about this… hope he finishes his new novel some point soon as well.

  2. _Black_Acrylic

    Hey that Murder House Productions lettering in California is written in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh font, a nice bit of Scottish Arts and Crafts cross cultural fertilisation there.

    Yesterday I was at an event in the Vision Building staged by my friend Jo called Assembly Dundee. It gathered together artists’ groups from around the UK to discuss their creative practice, about 100 folk from places as far afield as Liverpool, Belfast, Cardiff… an inspiring afternoon and it shows there’s a great many art spaces out there flourishing.

  3. Steve Erickson

    Will you have a chance to go to ,many haunted houses this October?

    I am meeting with the editor on my film Tuesday afternoon to talk about how things are going. She thinks she can complete the first rough cut of the film next week (although the sound may be rough, despite the fact that she says it was very well recorded.)

    Here’s my review of John Grant’s LOVE IS MAGIC: I finished my review of Bronski Beat’s THE AGE OF CONSENT today. I’m also applying to join the New York Film Critics Circle (right now, I don’t belong to any film critics’ organizations, although I vote in 5 year-end critics’ surveys) and sent them the intro letter they need to send to their members today.

    Have you heard Peter Brotzmann’s sax/electric bass/drums trio Full Blast? Their album RIO is very good and has a jazz/metal feel which reminds me of Last Exit (minus Sonny Sharrock, but the bass is often distorted and cranked up) and various John Zorn projects with Bill Laswell, Mick Harris and Dave Lombardo. I also liked rapper Lando Chill’s new album, which recalls a grimier and lower-budget version of Outkast’s approach to psychedelic hip-hop and funk.

  4. Jamie

    Lovely home haunts, Dennis! So lovely that I started the notion of a trip to the States just to see some in the flesh. The more homemade ones draw me in the most. My fave up above is the one that got closed down and I love that they’re up for doing it again.
    How was Porto? Did they like PGL?
    I’ve written sixty pages of Horror Film!
    May Paris hug you warmly, pleased that you’ve returned cos it missed you.
    Overflowing, best get a cloth love,

  5. JM

    hi d

    hearting the halloween posts been very out of touch the last few weeks hence lack of communication – out of touch in a good way. home haunts confuse me a little, where do these people find time and money, but i guess where do we find time and money to do art things and stuff??? i’m also absolutely hearting the new netflix show the haunting of hill house, yes the shirley jackson adaptation, really quite something amazing. reading pynchon’s bleeding edge and might be my fav since gravitys rainbow wow. wow wow bow. see u soon, about to kill my sugar daddy with a lawn lion.


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